After the botched rollout of Obamacare last year, the Obama administration is lowering expectations for the second open enrollment period to avoid a repeat of disappointments and outrage from last year.
According to Politico,
messaging on targets is more general, such as reducing the number of people who are uninsured and providing a better "customer experience."
"What we have said is that the experience will be better," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said, according to Politico. "It will not be perfect. We know that, and we know that there will be issues that will be raised as we go on in the process."
Officials have also refused to make predictions about the functioning
of HeathCare.gov or how many people they expect to enroll, leaving no indications about how smoothly it expects the online process will run when enrollment begins on Nov. 15.
"We are much more comfortable talking about results than expectations," said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to Politico. "We are extremely focused on meeting our milestones. We're very focused on making sure that everyone has a good customer experience."
Even critics of Obamacare are saying it's a wise strategy not to go into the next enrollment people with concrete public objectives.
"I certainly can't fault them for being circumspect," Texas GOP Rep. Michael Burgess, one of the law's harshest critics, told Politico. "I would do the same if I was in the situation."
There are indications, however, that the technology behind the site is significantly improved. There is a new, streamlined application process which was successfully demonstrated to reporters last week. And while officials refused to make promises about how well it would work with high volumes of traffic, they talked about the work that was being put in toward making it run smoothly.
Burwell told reporters that the administration is "not talking about expectations but about results, and that's what we're focused on … Every day, we are working through the deadlines that we have internally to get us to what we have said, which is a good consumer experience for open enrollment."
Officials also refused to discuss enrollment estimates,
an attempt to avoid the barrage of headlines last year about the shortfalls.
"We didn't think the enrollment targets really meant anything last year," Edwin Park, vice president of health policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, told Politico. "It's really the mix of people enrolling and improving the risk pool."
The Congressional Budget Office has projected that an average of 13 million people will be enrolled in Obamacare during 2015. The administration has avoided discussion of whether it hopes to meet the figure, instead saying they remain focused on reducing the number of those uninsured.
"Now we actually have information about what happened in the first open enrollment," Burwell said, according to Politico. "We want to try and to build that number, bottom up, based on what we know [about] those who did enroll."
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